When consumers normally think about auto racing first thing that comes to mind are zooming vehicles speeding around a track at the speed of lightening.
It can be difficult to picture how a winning driver’s techniques combined with world-class car technology translates to the car you use for errands and to get to work in your hometown.
But, Ford is changing the notion. The industry is buzzing with a shift in mindsets and out to balance customer priorities with racing performances that inspire some of the greatest offerings on the market today.
Since 1901 when Henry Ford raced his car “Sweepstakes” for an epic win in the history books, the company has set a standard for competition both on the track and in the home garage. Across the world the company has had a grand impact on being on the forefront of high performance vehicles creations as equally as award-winning consumer automobiles.
The company since 2014 is making the combination even more robust. With the opening of Ford’s Technical Support Center in Concord, North Carolina came a masterful creation that for car enthusiasts was revolutionary. The venue represents now and in the future important ways for Ford Performance to grow and win globally while finding more methods to transfer technology and ideas to consumer vehicles.
A tour of the facility is a breathtaking experience. Engineers are on the cutting edge of technology with the making of the next great racing vehicle along with the new production vehicle driving simulators.
“It’s not enough for Ford Performance to just go faster, we have a much larger mission to transfer innovations from racetracks to driveways,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance. “The tech center and this new driving simulator are two of the most important steps we have taken to help our mainstream engineering partners make sure the next Edge or F-150 is great to drive, even if you don’t buy a performance model.”
To take a ride in this robotic creation is a unique experience. Only a small portion of the population can experience the actual race, but a once-in-a-lifetime chance to loop around the track in this electronic creation is both jolting and exhilarating. The feeling of the bumps and turns at 100 miles an hour with you behind the wheel of a computer-generated screen is thrilling. But, the occurrence is also important in the translation of peak engineering to the road most of us drive on daily basis.
Overall, production vehicle simulators such as the fantastic creations at the center are crucial to modern passenger vehicle development. On the racing side, these simulators allow Ford Performance drivers and teams to optimize their setups for individual track configurations. For the consumer these tests end up making Ford vehicles safer and more efficient as the knowledge is shared from testing center to factory.
The 33,000-square-foot tech center is a key development resource for racing technologies and production car design. The facility is full of everything from groundbreaking 3D printing of scale models of new racing cars to housing of such grand examples as the Ford GT supercar with EcoBoost.®
We may not all be top sportsman race car drivers who know what it feels like to have your eye balls shake from driving with 10,000 horse power under your seat, but we can all have our lives enhanced with this proficient technology. Ford Performance is to be applauded for this grand gesture.
“We also work to foster a dynamic culture that is so important as our industry goes through historic change,” explained Rushbrook prior. “We have to work like a tech company to fix things before next weekend’s race, where in our previous jobs we could typically have weeks or even months to work through issues. These measures build on an innovative culture within our engineering department that works to set all of Ford Motor Company up for success down the road.”
Here is to Ford shifting gears and driving into a grand future on the track and at home.
Photos – Courtesy Ford